Ministry publication tells truth about Nazi death camps

German Camps, Polish Heroes is the title of a brochure informing about the genesis of death camps on Polish territory. The brochure, published by the Polish Foreign Ministry, is a response to claims that Poles collaborated with the Nazis in exterminating Jews during World War II.

The brochure, published in Polish, English and German, will be distributed to Polish diplomatic missions, among others in the US, Canada, Britain and Germany, where claims about Polish complicity in Nazi crimes appear most frequently.

Commenting on the publication at a press conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk said Poland felt compelled to respond to slanderous opinions which are based on historical falsehood and tarnished its good name.

"We feel obliged to react to violations of Poland's good name and attempts to falsify history not only in an incidental way, and so (...) we have launched long-term, far-reaching and broad-scope undertakings over several months, and more intensely of late, to raise knowledge about World War II and Poland's history, to prevent ignorance," Szynkowski vel Sęk said.

The deputy minister stressed that most painful for Poland were claims of its complicity in the Holocaust, and observed that while they sometimes stemmed from failing knowledge, they were also occasionally used intentionally to fan anti-Polish sentiments.

Asked about Poland's conflict with Israel over recent Nazi complicity and anti-Semitism allegations against Poland by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Szynkowski vel Sęk assured that his country and Israel were not in conflict over the matter, and observed that the statements merely compromised their authors.

At a February Middle East summit in Warsaw Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Poles of collaborating with Nazi Germans during WWII. The situation escalated when Israel's acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz backed Netanyahu's words and accused Poles of "suckling anti-Semitism with their mother's milk."

In the wake of the statements, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called off Poland's attendance at a planned Visegrad Group summit (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary) in Jerusalem.